5 Reasons We are Switching to the Pistol Offense

Quick post today.  We have been working heavily on our Pistol Offense this Summer.  A lot of coaches have asked me, “Why run the Pistol Offense?”

Pistol Offense Playbook

We will be working on the Pistol Offense late into the night this Summer!

 

We decided to incorporate the Pistol Offense into our philosophy for a number of reasons, including:

  1. The The Pistol Offense’s ability to capitalize on a running Quarterback
  2. The Pistol Offense’s ability to use a downhill bruising Running Back, but still be in shotgun.
  3. The Pistol offense is a natural fit into spread formations that allow us to motion…A LOT
  4. The Speed Option threatens either side of the formation in the Pistol Offense (not so in the Shotgun).
  5. We hope the Pistol Offense will improve our pass protection and passing game (as compared to being under Center)

 

Those are the five principal reasons we will be running the Pistol Offense this season.

What are yours?

Leave a comment below!

Pistol Formation #5 – Split Pro

There are fourteen formations in the Pistol Offense Playbook:

This post will look at pistol formation #5– “Split Pro”

"Split, Pro Right, Queen" - One Tight End, Two Running Backs.

“Split, Pro Right, Queen” – One Tight End, Two Running Backs.

 

  • Split tells the “X” that he is detached from the line and split out wide.  He is always opposite the pro.
  • Queen tells the Fullback that he is on the weak side of the formation, opposite the Y (Tight End).  
  • Usually H will leave the Game for an extra receiver (Z).
  • The Fullback will offset in a “King” or “Queen” backfield. King means the fullback will offset to the strong side of the football formation (The true Tight End; Y).
  • Queen means the Fullback offsets to the weak side of the formation, away from Tight End. The distance of his offset is determined by the play, but is by default the B gap.
  • The Flankers distance from the Tight End is dependent on the position of the ball and the play being ran.
  • This is a great personnel group to use for running the football.  We can achieve a ton of power on the Tight End side of the formation and counters weak are  strong plays.
  • The Triple Option weak is also a great play out of this set, with the Fullback crossing the Quarterback’s face moving strong and the Quarterback and Pistol back running the power and pitch path weak reading the End.
  • We have three vertical threats in this front allowing for a moderate pass threat.  However, this is a great formation for play-action passes, boots and waggles.

Crashed Computer!!!

Coaches,

Had a computer go down on me, lost my playbook software. Just got this one up and running. Hoping to resume work on the playbook this week…spammers and hackers!!!

I’ll get back to formations this week and move on into plays the next. Sorry for the delay fellas.

-Coach

Pistol Formation #4 – Pro

There are fourteen formations in the Pistol Offense Playbook:

This post will look at pistol formation #4 – “Pro”

Pistol Formation

“Pro, King” – Two Tight Ends, Two Running Backs.

Pistol Formation “Pro”

“Pro, King” – Two Tight End, Two Running Backs.

  • Pro means there is a flanking wide receiver to the side of the Tight End.
  • Usually H will leave the Game for an extra receiver (Z).
  • The Fullback will offset in a “King” or “Queen” backfield.  King means the fullback will offset to the strong side of the football formation (The true Tight End; Y).  Queen means the Fullback offsets to the weak side of the formation, away from Tight End.  The distance of his offset is determined by the play, but is by default the B gap.
  • The Flankers distance from the Tight End is dependent on the position of the ball and the play being ran.

Pistol Formation #3 – Double Split

There are fourteen formations in the Pistol Offense Playbook:

This post will look at pistol formation #3 – “Double Split”

Pistol Formation

“Double Split, T Weak” – Two Split Ends, Three Running Backs.

Pistol Formation “Double Split”

“Double Split Left, T Weak” – Two Tight End, Three Running Backs.

  • Double Split tells the Tight End (Y) that he will also be a Split End with X.  This can also be a personnel change (send in a receiver for the Y).  We still use Y as the symbol for the second split end.
  • The Tight End always goes opposite the Split End.  So if we say “Split Left” The Y would know to go right automatically.
  • Fullback (F) is to the backfield call (Strong or Weak).  So this formation would be Double Split Left, T Weak.
  • Y is the strength.  If no strength call is made, he goes on the left.  Halfback (H) is opposite the F in T.

Pistol Formation #2 – Split T

There are fourteen formations in the Pistol Offense Playbook:

This post will look at pistol formation #2 – “Split”

Pistol Formation “Split”

Pistol Formation Split T

“Split Left, T” – One Tight End, Three Running Backs.

  • Split tells the X to move from a Tight End position to a Split End position.  Left or Right tells him which side to go to.
  • The Tight End (Y) always goes opposite the Split End.  So if we say “Split Left” The Y would know to go right automatically.
  • Fullback (F) is to the backfield call (Strong or Weak).  So this formation would be Split Left, T Weak.  Tight End (Y) is the strength.  If no strength call is made, he goes on the left.  Halfback (H) is opposite the F in T.

Pistol Formation – #1 Tight

Today’s post will begin a series explaining the primary formations used for the Pistol Offense.  Each formation has a Pistol Back (P) placed directly behind the Quarterback.

*We do not run empty sets or formations without the Pistol Back.  However we will from time to time motion the Pistol Back or even the Quarterback out of the backfield for trick plays.

There are fourteen formations in the Pistol Offense Playbook:

  1. Tight
  2. Split
  3. Double Split
  4. Pro
  5. Split Pro
  6. Spread
  7. Split Spread
  8. Trey
  9. Split Trey
  10. Spread Pro
  11. Double Spread
  12. Double Pro
  13. Trips
  14. Split Trips

We designate strength by tagging “Right” or “Left” to the formation.

There are three possible backfields:

  1. T
  2. King / Queen
  3. Ace

*Remember, all three backfields have the primary Running Back behind the Quarterback.

Formation #1: Tight

  • Two Tight Ends
  • T Backfield

Pistol Formation “Tight T”

Pistol Formation Tight T

“Tight Right, T” – Two Tight Ends. Three Running Backs.

  • F & H (Fullback and Halfback) are a slight step behind the Quarterback to give them better angles on running plays and fakes.
  • We call the backfield T because the backfield is shaped roughly like the letter T.
  • We call it Tight because everybody is in Tight.
  • Y = Tight End #1 / 2nd Split End
  • X = Tight End #2 / 1st Split End
  • G = Guard
  • C = Center
  • T = Tackle
  • Q = Quarterback (3.5 / 4-yards deep)
  • P = Pistol Back (2 / 3-yards behind Quarterback)
  • F = Fullback / 2nd Slot
  • H = Halfback / 1st Slot

 

Pistol Offense Philosophy: #5 – Quick Screens and Play Action Passes

The philosophy of the pistol offense can be summarized in five points:

  1. Spread the field by formation
  2. Stack the Running Back behind the Quarterback
  3. Use the Quarterback as a runner (Option)
  4. Make the defense defend both sides of the formation every play
  5. Use the quick passing game / screen game to keep defenders out of the box

5. Use the quick passing game / screen game to keep defenders out of the box

The Pistol Offense relies on a short passing game (screens, play-action passes, etc) in order to keep the offense off-balance.  Attacking the perimeter with screens and quick passes forces the defense to honor those receivers and keep defenders out of the box, which opens up the Pistol Offense running game.

Slip Screen

Quick screens of a run action are a staple in the Pistol Offense

 

Pistol Offense Philosophy: #4 – Make the defense defend both sides of the formation every play

The philosophy of the pistol offense can be summarized in five points:

  1. Spread the field by formation
  2. Stack the Running Back behind the Quarterback
  3. Use the Quarterback as a runner (Option)
  4. Make the defense defend both sides of the formation every play
  5. Use the quick passing game / screen game to keep defenders out of the box

4. Make the defense defend both sides of the formation every play

The Pistol Offense, much like the I backfield, forces the defense to defend both sides of the formation equally.  This prevents the defense from overloading us to the right or left and can make it difficult for Defensive Coordinators to try and outflank us or take advantage of tendencies.  If they overload one side, there is always the chance we will go the other way.

The Quarterback and Running Back can attack both sides of the formation at any time.  This makes it extremely difficult for the Defense to overload or outflank the Pistol Offense.

The Quarterback and Running Back can attack both sides of the formation at any time. This makes it extremely difficult for the Defense to overload or outflank the Pistol Offense.

Pistol Offense Philosophy: #3 – Use the Quarterback as a Runner

The philosophy of the pistol offense can be summarized in five points:

  1. Spread the field by formation
  2. Stack the Running Back behind the Quarterback
  3. Use the Quarterback as a runner (Option)
  4. Make the defense defend both sides of the formation every play
  5. Use the quick passing game / screen game to keep defenders out of the box

3. Use the Quarterback as a runner

The Pistol Offense is built around the Quarterback as a run threat.  We’ve already spread out the defense and forced them to respect our inside running game.  Now, by using the option we can force the defense to account for another weapon – Our Quarterback in the off-tackle hole.

The Quarterback can also attack the inside of the defense by using the Running back as a lead blocker.

The Quarterback can fake to the Running Back and then use him as a lead blocker.

The Quarterback can fake to the Running Back and then use him as a lead blocker.

Using the Quarterback as a runner forces the defense to pay “11 on 11″ football.  Many offenses only use the quarterback to manage the game by handing off the ball, or as a passer.  The Pistol Offense makes the Quarterback a run threat on every play.